6/27/14

Ironman Austria race course (pics)


Some of the most memorable parts of traveling are enjoying new sight, smells and tastes. Because I am super camera happy, I just love capturing memories of beautiful sights when I travel. I really try my best to soak up every moment when I travel but for me, pictures help me tell a story. Not always do the pictures flow like sentences in a paragraph but more often than not, they help the reader want to turn the page for more. That’s how I see life when I travel. I just love sensory overload in a new place!
After my first two Ironman’s (IMFL and Kona in 2006 and 2007 respectively) and 3 consecutive half IM’s in Orlando Florida (Disney half ironman at the time, now Ironman Florida 70.3),  I welcomed my first Ironman race after Kona in my home state of Kentucky. I really enjoyed the journey of training for the Ironman but the added excitement of traveling for a race really made my Ironman experience extra special.
Since 2009, I have continued to follow two passions of mine – traveling and racing. And lucky for me, I have not been alone in my traveling adventures.
Although Karel just recently turned “Ironman” triathlete last July after nearly two decades of bike racing, it was a no brainer that we would search for a beautiful and challenging course for our first Ironman experience together. Ironman Lake Placid was our decision and the nature did not let us down!
After an amazing experience traveling to Czech in May last year (about 10 weeks or so before IM Placid), Karel and I tossed around the idea of combining our love of traveling and racing with our first international race. With Ironman Austria just 4 hours (without delays) from Karel’s hometown of Znojmo Czech Republic, we decided to save our money, make some plans and sign up and train for our first international Ironman.
With any vacation (or racecation for us), you don’t really know what to expect when you go somewhere new, until you arrive to your final destination.
I could not be more excited about the opportunity to race 140.6 miles on Sunday and to be cheered on by 100,000 spectators along the race course. And, how cool that Karel and I get to race with 3000 other athletes from over 61 nations! I am also proud to be one of the 99 USA athletes and one of the 12.5% of females racing on race day!
Because the right words are hard to describe this beautiful course, here are some of my best pictures of our day of training on the course yesterday.




The weather looks good for race day! The sun starts to rise just before 5am and the mix of clouds and sun makes for a very fun experience while racing. 
The temperatures are just perfect for racing and the water temperature feels around 70-72 degrees so it should be wetsuit legal on race day. The water feels great - not too warm, not too cold. Plus, the duckies are always happy in the water so that brings me comfort that we will be happy too. Most of the swim is in the lake, a very easy to navigate rectangle where we swim out, turn left and head back to shore. Although, the last 1000 K is in a cannal which will be lined with spectators. 
The road quality on the bike course is great. Well, anything is better than St. Croix 70.3 which we raced in May. 
There are a few rough patches here and there but nothing that would be too concerning, especially on a descend. 
There are a few climbs on each loop (two loops) of the bike course and the course is very well marked. We rode about 2.5 hours yesterday (with one wrong turn so we didn't get to see some of the end of the course) and enjoyed every mile (or kilometer) of it! The course  is not technical and the climbs are followed with long smooth descents. The course has views of water, the alps, valleys and runs from town to town. There is always something to look at so this may make "racing" this course hard for me and Karel!
The run, unlike the bike, is fairly flat so this will be a first for me to do my 8th Ironman on a hilly bike course with a flat run. This should be interesting for my legs for they do like to climb in a triathlon. 
The run features views in downtown as well as lot of spectators on the course. After two loops of the run, we will finish with a stadium-like feel of screaming spectators and cheerleaders down the finish line chute until we reach our 140.6 mile finish line!